Words by Darcy Nathan
Feature Image by Victoria Wai X Generator NE Twitter
There is no shortage of musical talent in the North East. New festival, Generator Live, took place between the 18th and 25th of June, showcasing the talent of emerging regional artists. A total of 42 local artists and DJs performed in some of Newcastle’s most renowned grassroots venues throughout the week to celebrate the city’s thriving music scene.
As part of the festival, six Fringe events in the Ouseburn Valley were coordinated by top event organisers in the area in partnership with BBC Introducing North East and arts charity Northern Roots. The event culminated on Saturday 25th, with ten artists taking to the stage to showcase a variety of musical styles and genres at the cultural landmark, Boiler Shop.
Artist Ruth Lyon dominated the main stage with her soulful vocals and alt-pop sound. A singer and disability activist who represents a national charity that enhances deaf and disabled people’s access to live music, she made a poignant statement when she covered Cold War Kids’ Hospital Beds with an anecdote about her own hospital stays as a teenager. She introduced her sound to the audience with a sullen message but delivered it with confidence and passion.
The activism continued as rapper, actor, and anti-racism activist, Kema Kay, performed songs from his critically acclaimed one-man stage show, Shine. A leading name in the North East grime scene, his powerful lyrics document his struggle to find his identity as a black man in Newcastle. While performing his hit Who Are We? Kemaincorporated the showmanship he brought to his role in BAFTA award-winning ‘I am Daniel Blake’.
Kay Greyson, a regional hip-hop legend, led the crowd in a lively set right from soundcheck. With her blend of modern hip hop and the “vibe of Lil Uzi Vert,” the veteran performer packed the main stage.
The evening was rounded off with an official after party at Newcastle’s legendary, longest running underground club, WHQ. Our North East talent will never go undiscovered thanks to grassroots projects like Generator, which make it possible to witness the musical genius we have here.